There are 12 more weeks remaining until December 11, the date that has been set with the last annex of the Przino Agreement for holding early and, according to the efforts of the opposition and of the international community, credible, fair and democratic elections for overcoming the two-year political crisis that is destroying Macedonia. However, it seems that the ten-year practice of the government is not changing at all.
Instead of 100 days of depoliticisation of the state, the leader of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski, who resigned from his prime minister position at the beginning of the year, is sending a very clear message that he is the one who is running the Government. Emil Dimitriev, who became Prime Minister on January 18, is performing this function formally, but not in actual fact, and quite often is just a media décor while Gruevski is announcing alleged capital projects, which he failed to realize in the past 10 years of ruling.
The ministers of VMRO-DPMNE are also in an extremely subordinate function, even now, with the technical Government having been formed, with ministers and deputy ministers from SDSM. Despite declarative efforts for separation of government and institutions, the state is under complete party slavery.
Special Prosecutor’s Office stirs interest among public
The constitutionality of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) is not on the agenda of the first session of the Constitutional court that is scheduled for after the summer holidays on September 28, although the four biggest political parties called on the Court to make a decision as soon as possible. According to the last annex of the Przino Agreement, in case the Constitutional Court decides that the Law on the SPO or part of it is unconstitutional, the four parties commit to align the Law with the decision of the Court, and to reestablish the Office within 5 days. According to the Agreement, “the effectiveness, scope and objectives of the SPO should be maintained”.
Prosecutor Katica Janeva appealed to parliament to adopt the changes to the Law on Witness Protection. These are key changes for the SPO, so that this institution can get to the bottom of the Martin Neskovski case, the cases of “Monstrum” and “Sopot”. DUI declaratively say that they will support the work of the SPO, but they first need to receive the initiative for this.
The trial for the “Pouch” case has been delayed for the first of November, due to absence of one of the jurors. According to the leader of the opposition Zoran Zaev, the absence of the juror is just “covering” for the main witness, Nikola Gruevski, who has decided not to appear in Court.
Special Public Prosecutor Katica Janeva stated that the delay of a month and a half is too much, because the suspects are facing precautionary measures and restricted freedom. According to her, it is unjustifiable for the Court not to allow reporters to follow the hearing.
The Criminal Court, within 8 days, has to schedule a hearing for the first two charges that the SPO submitted in accelerated procedures, and for which Prosecutor Janeva says she is ready for trial. The SPO has filed lawsuits against 21 people. The first lawsuit, for destroying documents regarding the wiretapping, is against 7 people, while in the second lawsuit regarding violence against the Mayor of the Municipality of Center, Andrej Zernovski, during the session of the municipal council when there was also a protest in front of the Municipality, 14 people have been accused for the criminal act of “violence”.
Ad Hoc monitors or party lobbyists
The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services performed monitoring on 18 broadcasters in the period 2 – 11 September. The reports were published on the Agency’s website on September 17, hence detailed information can be obtained, through the prism of this regulatory body, on how the Macedonian media have been reporting in their news programs. Experts have still not announced their views and comments concerning this report.
On the other hand, questions are raised as to how much the Temporary Commission has improved the work so far and managed to provide a balance in informing, and how much it is contributing to conveying an objective picture to the citizens on events in the period until elections?
In the media, part of the national, pro-government media is still keeping a negative tone in their reviews and comments directed against the opposition and the SPO. Hence, the impression that nothing significant has changed even with the establishment of the Temporary Commission for media monitoring.
This ad-hoc body even has a member who on his Facebook profile is openly and strongly criticizing the opposition and certain media. Media experts need to express their views on – how much this type of 100-day functioning of the ad-hoc body for media regulation is ethical and in accordance with the journalistic code of ethics, which is supposed to ensure balance and restore objective journalism in the media scene, in at least this time framework until the elections.
Following Gruevski, Zaev also in a race for electoral votes?
The leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Gruevski, known for his populist approach, in the style of an actor with a mobile phone in his hand, is handing out solutions for everyone, for all of the problems of the citizens in Macedonia. In the race for winning votes, this time he is announcing new jobs, infrastructure projects, free railroad transportation for the young people, scholarships for students…Thus, demonstrating to his party colleagues who is the “chief”. He is giving statements in the media, while the ministers and mayors in a subordinate role are keeping his back. And rightly so, since this is Macedonia, here the politicians are exempted from the moral dimension of their functions. That is why Gruevski is practically running the state, as if it were his own, even though he is part of cases that indicate his involvement in criminal acts arising from the “Wiretapping” affair.
On the other hand, the leader of SDSM, Zaev, with open ambitions for a future prime minister, has started applying populist methods instead of demonstrating a political style of a prime minister. After the party engaged a journalist (Muhamed Zekiri), and a host (Nora Shakiri) had complained for not being employed, Zaev sent her an invitation through Facebook for a coffee meeting to agree for her to be “housed”.
Populism is characteristic for Gruevski, the citizens with a critical prism easily recognize it and that is why they want to get rid of such policies, in search of real reforms that will be based on quality and standards. Therefore, it is unclear why Zaev too, who actually fought against crime and corruption, is choosing a same method for winning votes?
This week Zaev expressed firm belief that the elections will meet the minimum criteria for a fair race, and also announced disputing President Ivanov’s mandate if SDSM were to win the elections.